3 ways tech will make diabetes management easier


Successful insulin management is predicated upon good data. When data is inaccurate, unavailable or misunderstood, insulin management, and ultimately diabetes management, can become challenging. Yet, unfortunately, obtaining accurate, interpretable and actionable data has proven elusive for many people living with diabetes and their healthcare providers. Innovation must come to the forefront of medicine and diabetes management to create solutions that will address the issues that have made securing and comprehending health data so problematic.

In recent years, many have tried to step up their innovation game, initiating an evolution of connected devices and decision-making support for diabetes management. Still, widespread adoption of changes to insulin data tracking has not occurred. New insulin management and data tracking technologies must help people with diabetes better understand the condition and how they can best treat it.

Why does a turkey sandwich eaten on Tuesday not result in the same blood glucose readings as a turkey sandwich eaten on Monday?

The first part of achieving this goal is making blood glucose data easier to interpret. Why does a turkey sandwich eaten on Tuesday not result in the same blood glucose readings as a turkey sandwich eaten on Monday? Seemingly incongruous data points can be a major source of confusion and frustration for people with diabetes and act as another deterrence in the data collection process. Likewise, while HCPs offer tailored guidance to their patients, existing data delivery options are cumbersome to use and not always helpful. They can be difficult to interpret and translate into detailed patient guidance, so providers are forced to examine lengthy blood glucose logs and try to gather the information from patient visits.

The second part of achieving this goal is to create data tracking technologies that strengthen the patient-healthcare provider relationship. People with diabetes have long relied on brief quarterly visits with their HCP as their only means of data review and guidance. Unfortunately, this cadence is ill suited to improve insulin management effectively because it cannot address potential daily missteps in care. With such a delayed feedback loop, seemingly insignificant errors quickly become patterns of behavior that cannot be rectified easily in the course of a 15-minute checkup every three months.

Our systems are being designed to positively reinforce even seemingly insignificant changes in behavior

Lilly recognises that data has long been a source of tension for people with diabetes and their HCPs. Consequently, we’re aiming to bridge this divide by developing technology that changes the current ‘data’ paradigm in three impactful ways.

First, our digital systems are being designed to analyze blood glucose trends in response to insulin dose changes and capture people’s behaviors to give them actionable insights in managing their diabetes. Our hope is that the information will be easily accessible and transportable, thus reducing the need to rely on paper logbooks or printouts of blood glucose measurements.

Second, the goal for Lilly’s future insulin management system is to make data both interpretable and actionable for people living with diabetes and their care providers. By providing ongoing access to blood glucose information and personalized insulin dose recommendations, we aim to reduce the ‘mental math’ that goes into calculating an insulin dose.

Third, and perhaps most significantly, our systems are being designed to positively reinforce even seemingly insignificant changes in behavior. Discrete data points will be analyzed in real time to provide feedback that reinforces the steps that people with diabetes are taking to better manage their condition.

Lilly is committed to strengthening the relationship between data and real-time events for individuals living with diabetes and their healthcare providers, and we look forward to bringing our connected insulin management system to life.

Lori Ferzandi
Lori Ferzandi
Eli Lilly and Company

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